News in Numbers, Dec 8, 2016: The surprise decision…

6.25%

What is it? The repo rate, the rate at which the central bank lends to commercial banks.

Why is it important? It has been left unchanged by the Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy committee, a unanimous decision by the six-member team. This decision has been widely perceived to be a surprise even as many analysts had predicted a rate cut after the cash crunch brought on by the government’s move to replace high-value currency notes, which threatens to slow down the economy. The rates were held steady amidst concerns about the re-emergence of food inflation pressures, a likely increase in crude oil prices and the expected increase in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve.

Tell me more: The central bank has lowered its growth forecast to 7.1% from the earlier projection of 7.6% due to demonetisation.

 

Rs 35,170 crore

What is it? The increase in net spending for which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has sought Parliamentary approval in the current fiscal.

Why is it important? This is the second time that additional funding is being sought. In August, extra funds of $3.1 billion was approved for spending in 2016-17. The recent request comes after the Indian economy grew by 7.3% in the July-September quarter, mainly driven by government spending as private investment activity showed no signs of gaining pace.

Tell me more: The additional spending includes Rs 4,000 crore for a rural jobs programme, Rs 3,100 crore for the farm ministry and Rs 1,100 crore to cover a higher pensions bill.

 

5.5%

What is it? The percentage of customer acquisition forms (of a total of 7.84 crore audited) that were found to be non-compliant as of September 2016 during verification of such forms used to enrol customers by telecom operators.

Why is it important? Indicates that a significant share of users are not verified (as mandated) before providing them with mobile connections. A total of Rs 2,335.9 crore penalty has been levied on telecom service providers as on the last day of September. It remains to be seen if the telecom ministry’s recent circular notifying the use of Aadhaar e-KYC (know your customer) service of the Unique Identity Authority of India for issuing mobile connections to users is likely to bring down the number of such violations.

Tell me more: The Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring Cells carry out the verification exercise of customer acquisition forms of 0.1% of users at the end of every month.

 

£1 billion

What is it? The amount Tata Steel plans to invest in UK over the next 10 years.

Why is it important? This is part of the deal that Britain’s largest steelmaker has offered to unions and in return, it expects them to move to a defined contribution scheme from the existing expensive pension scheme. This deal brings Tata Steel a step closer to merging its European assets with Germany’s Thyssenkrupp, which does not want to take on the former’s pension liabilities in case a merger happens. The unions would decide on the deal in January next year.

Tell me more: The deal also includes Tata Steel offering to keep both the furnaces operational at Port Talbot in South Wales for five years at least with no compulsory redundancies during that period. Tata Steel employs 4,000 people at the Welsh plant and 11,000 in the UK.

 

36

What is it? The number of cases where the baby cannot fit down the birth canal per 1,000 births compared to 30 in 1,000 in the 1960s, according to a research.

Why is it important? The research suggests that the regular use of caesarean sections is affecting human evolution. Increasingly, more mothers require surgery to deliver babies due to their narrow pelvis size. Earlier, women with a very narrow pelvis would not have survived birth but now due to medical interventions, they do and pass on their genes to their girl children. The question of why the human pelvis has not grown wider over the years despite the fact that the head of a human baby is larger than that of other primates, still remains unanswered.

Tell me more: The research published in the journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ says that the study points towards the trend of larger newborns (which are more healthy) and that the trend towards smaller newborns has disappeared.

 

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News in numbers, Apr 22, 2016: FDI into India in 2015, Time’s list of 100 most influential people…

$63 billion

What is it? Foreign direct investment into India in 2015.

Why is it important?  It’s more than what China, which has been a huge magnet for greenfield capital investments last few decades, received during the same period. China attracted $56.6 billion in 2015, spread over 789 projects. India’s $63 billion was spread over 697 projects. The FDI has created 2.25 lakh new jobs in 2015 in India (compared to 1.6 lakh new jobs in 2013).

Tell me more:  The report is from fDi Intelligence, data division of Financial Times. The report said the Asia Pacific region accounted for 45% of all greenfield investments, taking in $302.5 billion and 3883 projects.

 

25%

What is it? The stake United Kingdom government is willing to buy in Tata Steel’s UK business.

Why is it important?  It might help Tata find a credible buyer, and in turn, help UK save about 15,000 jobs. Tata has been trying to sell its UK steel business, bought through its $12.9 billion acquisition of Corus Group in 2007. The business has turned sour with rising costs, drop in steel demand and cheap imports from China as well as a series of internal issues.

Tell me more:  Earlier this month, Greybull Capital offered to buy its long products business for one pound, and possibly save around 4,400 jobs. Tata Steel is in talks with a number of potential buyers.  

 

$42 million

What is it? The penalty on West Indies Cricket Board that BCCI (Board Of Control For Cricket In India) has now waived. It was imposed on WICB for West Indies team abandoning the 2014 tour midway.

Why is it important? This brings an end to a long spat between West Indies and India. The unfinished games will be played next year, as it was hinted last December. It also clears ground for more matches between the two teams since BCCI had suspended all bilateral tours till the issue was resolved.

Tell me more:  In 2014, West Indies, under captainship of Dwayne Bravo, had abandoned its tour in India midway over payment structure dispute between the players, WICB and West Indies Players’ Association.

 

> 150

What is it? The number of countries that will sign the Paris Climate Agreement on Friday, 22 April Earth Day in New York.

Why is it important? It’s the first significant step in taking forward the landmark deal struck in Paris last December, which seeks to limit the global temperature rise to below 2 degree C. It comes at a time when the effects of global warming are causing increasingly more concern. For example, the first three months this year has been the hottest ever.

Tell me more:  While it’s a significant first step, experts believe countries need more ambitious plans to tackle the impact of climate change – heat waves, food shortages and fast rising seas.  

 

6

What is it? The number of Indians in Time magazine’s 2016 list of 100 most influential people.

Why is it important? It’s a sign of soft power and widely followed and debated in India, even if the process of measuring people’s influence or someone making it to the list is far from perfect. Raghuram Rajan, Priyanka Chopra,  Sania Mirza, Sachin Bansal, Binny Bansal, Sunita Narain made it to the list. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, widely expected to be in the list, did not.

Tell me more: The first Time 100 list was published in 1999, with a list of 100 most influential people of 20th century. (Albert Einstein was ranked number 1, followed by Mahatma Gandhi). US President Barack Obama holds the record for maximum appearance, making to the list 11 times. The 2016 list also featured Aziz Ansari, Sundar Pichai, Raj Panjabi and Nikki Haley, all persons of Indian origin.

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